Summer is finally here, and you are ready to tweak your workout routine. Let’s face it. Exercise can become routine, as in boring, if you don’t change it up once in a while. The backyard pool is a great opportunity to get in shape and enjoy the outdoors at the same time.
There are great benefits to working out in water. You will burn more calories working out in water versus land. That’s because you work harder against the resistance of the water. You will receive the maximum aerobic benefit by doing the same routine but in the water. Your cardiovascular health will be improved, and you will build muscle.
At the same time, water exercise is easier on your joints than high-impact activities such as running, thanks to the buoyancy of the water. Water exercise can be beneficial for those with arthritis and limited mobility or when recovering from an injury.
Water Walking. Start in water that is waist deep. Your entire leg should be working against the water’s resistance. You want to walk the same as you would on land, with a heel-toe gait. Keep your back straight. Swing your arms as you walk. The resistance of the water against your hand will help give your arms a workout. Don’t just walk forward; try backward! You could even try walking in a side-step or do lunges while walking. If you have an above ground pool you could walk laps. If you have an in-ground pool with deep water, you will have to walk side to side.
Otter Roll. Float on your back in the pool away from the sides. Cross your arms over your chest and cross your legs also. Use your abdominal muscles to roll yourself over and then back over again. Do 10-15 rolls in one direction and then repeat in the opposite direction. You can change up this move by holding a beach ball against your chest rather than crossing your arms. The size of the ball will determine the difficulty level.
Water Crunches. Float on your back perpendicular to the side of the pool. Lift your legs up on the deck up to your knees. Using your abdominal muscles, pull your upper body out of the water as far as you can. Slowly lower your body back in the water. Repeat 10-15 times.
Leg Lifts. Stand with your back to the side of your backyard pool. Rest your elbows and forearms on the pool deck. With your legs straight and together, slowly lift your legs so they are parallel to the bottom of the pool. Hold for ten seconds and then lower your legs slowly to the bottom. Repeat 10-15 times.
One Legged Balance. Stand in your above ground pool in waist deep water. Lift your left knee and keep your arms at your sides. Balance on your right leg and hold the position for one minute. Now move your left leg out to the side. Balance and hold the position for one minute. Alternate legs. For added challenge, raise your arms over your head.
Fly-Backs. Stand in your backyard pool in the lunge position (right knee bent and left leg extended behind you). Place your arms in the water straight in front of you, palms touching, thumbs up, fingers open. Keeping your arms straight, move your arms against the resistance of the water, out from your sides, and then return to the starting position. Do four sets of 10-15 reps, switching the forward leg for each set.
Flutter Kick. Holding on to the side of the pool, go into a front float with your head out of the water. Flutter kick your legs with knees straight and toes pointed. Use a nice steady pace to get your heart rate up. If you are ready for a bigger challenge, alternate slow and steady with race mode.
Trunk Rotation. Stand in a shallow squat (knees slightly bent) with your head out of the water. Holding a ball out in front of you with arms straight, rotate your torso to the left and return to center. Rotate your torso to the right and return to center. Repeat alternating sides. The larger the ball, the greater the resistance and difficulty.
Remember to start slow. Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise regime. You are in water, so safety first. A good investment when starting an exercise program in the backyard pool is a pair of inexpensive pool shoes. If you find you really love working out in your backyard pool, you can always upgrade to a high-performance pool shoe.
This added benefit of having a backyard pool for fitness is a great way to add to your exercise routine. When you are finished working out, cool down outdoors in your beautiful backyard pool, floating on the water with a drink floating next to you!